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Tsvangirai told US ambassador he would be found guilty

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador Christopher Dell that he expected to be found guilty of treason. He was accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

Judgement in his case had been postponed several times leading to speculation that Judge Paddington Garwe had found him guilty but assessors did not agree with the judge.

Tsvangirai’s lawyers said that the continuing delay was the result of pressure from South African Development Community.

Dell argued that conventional wisdom had long held that the government would find Tsvangirai guilty, sentence him to death, and then pardon him.

“This would disqualify Tsvangirai from running for president but avoid making him a martyr,” he argued.

“However, there are increasing signals that the government, increasingly confident of its electoral position, may opt to avoid any negative publicity and find Tsvangirai not guilty.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE1571, TSVANGIRAI VERDICT DATE SET – OCTOBER 15

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE1571

2004-09-20 11:47

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

201147Z Sep 04

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001571

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/21/2014

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI MDC

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI VERDICT DATE SET – OCTOBER 15

 

REF: A. HARARE 1224

 

B. HARARE 334

C. HARARE 268

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.5 b/d.

 

1. (C) Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers informed

the Embassy on September 17 that the High Court had told them

it would render a verdict in the Tsvangirai treason trial on

October 15. The case concluded in February 2004, more than a

year after it started.

 

2. (C) Originally, the court was to render its verdict in

August. However, the verdict was postponed,

supposedlybecause the two assessors on the panel had

requested full transcripts of the trial for further review.

Tsvangirai’s lawyers speculated at the time that the real

 

SIPDIS

reason for the postponement was that Judge Garwe had already

decided on a guilty verdict, but that the two assessors did

not agree.

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai’s lawyers said that the continuing delay

was the result of pressure from South African Development

Council (SADC) pressure. According to their “sources” within

the government, the GOZ had told SADC partners at the August

16-18 Summit in Mauritius that Tsvangirai would be found

guilty, but this received widespread negative reaction,

especially from South Africa.

 

3. (C) Comment: Conventional wisdom has long held that the

government would find Tsvangari guilty, sentence him to

death, and then pardon him. This would disqualify Tsvangari

from running for president but avoid making him a martyr.

However, there are increasing signals that the government,

increasingly confident of its electoral position, may opt to

avoid any negative publicity and find Tsvangari not guilty.

Tsvangari himself told the Ambassador September 17 (septel)

 

SIPDIS

that he expected to be found guilty in August but would now

not be surprised at a not-guilty verdict. End Comment

 

Dell

 

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